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  • suckerPUNCHitecture

    Aaron BETSKY.
    cincinnati OHIO

    “Are we at the dawn of a new organic age? We are if you are to believe what you see on suckerPUNCH. Buildings bloom rather than rise, luxuriate and grow like rhizomes. . . .”

    [EXCERPTED FROM FRESH PUNCHES ]

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    Are we at the dawn of a new organic age? We are if you are to believe what you see on suckerPUNCH. Buildings bloom rather than rise, luxuriate and grow like rhizomes. suckerPUNCH is a jungle filled with vines, tendrils, exotica, and all the elements of biomass so dense that it defies description. suckerPUNCHitecture is appearing.

    Scale matters little here. These images that appear on our screens are cities or even whole planets, rather than individual buildings or objects. Architecture has become projective terraforming. On the other hand, these could be the germs of future biotopes that we are seeing through the enlarging device of the computer. Out of these forms and the ideas that go with them, a continuous environment might appear.

    The constituent pieces of suckerPUNCHitecture are zeros and ones, amalgamated into lines of codes that are part of proprietary software. Not adept at such material myself, I count on students to tell me which part of an image is Rhino, which a Photoshop layer, and which a piece of distorted AutoCAD plotting. To those of us lost in orthogonal logic, this work has a magical quality.

    These are the sticks and stones out of which a kind of coherence appears. Traditional modes of evaluation dissolve. What is important in experiencing this work is that it is the result of neither an accretional nor a reductive process. If traditional building methods worked by piling one material on top of another, then you could say that the various attempts at reform and innovation sought to strip and reveal. Accretion was conservative and incremental; reduction was radical (as the word implies, getting back to roots) and revolutionary. It sought truth rather than function.

    In the late 20th century, speculative or experimental architecture became a possible third pole. It was and is part of an economy of scenario planning, postulation, and speculation. Scale jumps, destructive creation, and role reversals are now possible, as is the plasticity of appearance. Instead of utopia or buildings, we now have plastic projects that state their contained and useful radicalism.

    suckerPUNCHitecture is part of another form of speculation, one whose roots are based on letting the program not tend towards returns or resolution, but toward richness of effect. It has no point and I do not get it. It luxuriates by itself, occupying space and designating itself as an inevitable answer to the way we are becoming today.

    This work is not real in the sense that it neither reflects reality nor has a static and measurable quality. True, it can be and is made, as models extruded from machines. Its physicality transforms from the emanation of light on screens to the chemical. It flows and freezes, becoming an indefinable set of objects.

    The question remains how suckerPUNCHitecture will ooze into our lives. Will it always remain a potentiality, what is latent in what we can imagine and produce? Or will it realize itself in some form that will transform or transmute our world? Will we be sucker punched?

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    [MORE FROM FRESH PUNCHES]
    [PURCHASE]

    [Cincinnati Art Museum]
    [Netherlands Architecture Institute]
    [University of Michigan]

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